PRATT — Mike Lewis of Pratt Livestock thinks cattle prices are headed in a direction that will favor the producer.
The year 2020 has been a difficult one for Kansas cattlemen, but there could be good news for the coming months. Lewis said last week that meatpacking plants have been under fire due to the vast difference in profit margins for ranchers versus packers.
"It was really bad for a while. We were selling feeder cattle, 700-1000 pound steers, to the feed lots but we were losing money last summer," Lewis said. "The packers were actually making, for a short time, they were netting $800 a head."
Lewis said he believes there is a cycle for prices as the demand and number of cattle being sold fluctuate. He said he also understands that packers are doing their jobs to make money for their stockholders.
Sale prices are coming up at Pratt Livestock. Right now, there are two sale days per week at the facility east of Pratt along US 54/400 highway. From October through December, the sale barn has a sale on Thursday and another on either Monday or Saturday. Lewis said there are about 3,500 calves and feeder steers being sold each week at Pratt Livestock. A wide variety of cows are sold each week, and the market can be complex.
Currently, steer calves that have been weaned and vaccinated are selling for about $1.50 to $1.90 per pound. Heifer calves can be about 15 cents less than that. According to Lewis, an 800-pound steer ready to go to the feedlot will sell for anywhere between $1.35 and $1.45.
Lewis owned Pratt Livestock for about four decades before the Winter family bought the business six or seven years ago. Mike Lewis and his son Jake Lewis, along with Roger Panek, run the show at Pratt Livestock. Winter Livestock owns sale barns in Kansas, Pratt Livestock along with Dodge City. They also have sales in Colorado, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
For more information on sale dates and special sales, visit winterlivestock.com.